The new service offers expats a choice of short-term permit if they don’t want a one-year permit or to renew annually. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Expats in Saudi Arabia can now get three-month residency permits with a renewal option for the same period and they can save a digital copy of the iqama (permit) on their smartphones, local media reported.

The service was launched as part of a new package of services by Minister of Interior Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Saud Bin Naif and is now available on Absher Afrad (Individual) platform.

The new service offers expats a choice of short-term permit if they don’t want a one-year permit or to renew annually. This service, according to reports, is to help both expats and their employers save money that would otherwise be paid for a full year. It will also enhance the flexibility of the contractual relationship.

For example, if an employer is hiring an expat whose iqama is about to expire and the latter want to resign three months later, they can, under the new system, renew their iqama for three months instead of a full year.

In addition, if an expat’s iqama has expired and only needs to stay in the Kingdom some more months, they can renew their iqama for three, six, or nine months, instead of having to renew it for a full year.

This also means that payments of the short-term iqama fee can be made on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. According to the recent amendments to the government payment system, banks will accept the payment of the work permit fee for a minimum of three months or its multiples of six, nine months or a full year.

The quarterly renewal of iqama allows expats to pay for the dependent fee on a quarterly basis, too. The quarterly renewal of iqama is optional, it was clarified. Therefore, if people are not comfortable with it, they can continue with the current system.

According to the recently updated government payments system, iqama fee can be paid on a quarterly- or half-yearly basis. This will facilitate completing the procedures of issuance and renewal of iqamas for the required period through the online platforms of Absher Business, Muqeem, and Qiwa under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

Banks will now accept the payment of the fee for the work permit by the employer for a minimum three-month period or its multiples up to a whole year. The issuance and renewal of iqama are linked to the work permit.

Employers shall make a payment of the expatriate fee for the renewal of the work permit, which is SR800 per month or SR9,600 a year. Expatriates who have dependents shall have to pay SR400 per month for each dependent.